By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU PILOT AND REVIEW
RHINELANDER, Wis. — Robin Mendez has been convicted of first degree murder in connection with the 1982 death of his wife.
Robin Mendez, 70, was found guilty Tuesday in Oneida County Court Circuit Judge Jill Falstad, the Marathon County judge who presided over the seven-day bench trial. Mendez opted for the bench trial instead of facing a 12-person jury. Falstad was assigned to the case when Mendez requested a replacement judge to oversee the case.
Robin Mendez was arrested in February 2018, suspected of killing Barbara Mendez, who was 32 years old when she was found dead inside Park City Credit Union in Minocqua. The April 28, 1982 murder has remained unsolved for decades, but sheriff’s officials meticulously continued to work the case until an arrest could be made.
In the months before his arrest Sheriff’s officials and Minocqua Police spent countless hours going over all available information, including witness statements, before putting the information together into one comprehensive report for Oneida County District Attorney Michael Schiek. Investigators say they re-interviewed every witness they could locate.
Prosecutors alleged that the time of Barbara’s death, Robin Mendez was having a sexual relationship with 14-year-old girl. A former coworker told investigators Barbara Mendez believed something inappropriate had been going on, and planned to talk to Robin about their marriage. The next day Barbara Mendez was found dead.
Robin Mendez has a criminal history that includes a 2002 conviction for first degree sexual assault of a child and invasion of privacy, according to online court documents. He faces a mandatory life sentence, but Falstad could choose to allow extended release after a minimum of 20 years in prison.
Falstad ordered a presentencing investigation be completed before Robin Mendez is sentenced. A date for sentencing has not yet been set.